Can Thomas Tuchel bring the best out of Mateo Kovacic?

Through the years at Chelsea, many players have come and gone. Many players are favoured by particular managers, then once that manager is gone, the player loses his touch. It’s a vicious cycle that can seriously tarnish a player’s ability. In this piece, I’m going to discuss how Thomas Tuchel can prevent this from happening with Mateo Kovacic.

Kovacic has been a fantastic addition to the Chelsea side since his arrival in 2018. ‘Kova’ shone in his season-long loan spell, enough to earn himself a permanent move to the Bridge last season. During last season, the Croatian set the pitch alight, with stand out performances throughout the season. This secured him the Club’s Player of the Season award, a credit to his ability and performances.

Despite the accolade, there remained a lot missing in his game. Kova struggles with precision in the final third and can be relatively weak defensively. With that being said, since Tuchel arrived at the Bridge, he has reignited a fire inside Mateo that is becoming very clear to see. In his first five league games under Tuchel, Kovacic has proved just how important he can be when he performs to this high standard. Over the five games, Mateo has racked up a pass accuracy percentage of 91% and has completed 16 of his 18 attempted dribbles. Quite the achievement.It is no doubt that one of his strongest qualities is his pristine dribbling, which is evident to see when he glides around the pitch, almost effortlessly. Remind you of anyone? That’s right, a certain Eden Hazard. Kova also has impeccable ball retention, and rarely looks nervous when in possession. In Chelsea’s recent game against Newcastle, Kovacic showed just how important he is to Chelsea by displaying a more ambitious side to his game. Mateo is excellent at acquiring the ball from deep and driving it into open space. One thing he is lacking is that attacking mindset, to visualise where the runners are and pick out that key pass, which if he implements into his game, Chelsea will be scoring for fun.

Kovacic also needs to develop more of an eye for goal. We have seen it on the odd occasion, the Croatian can strike a ball. Valencia in the Champions League and Everton away last season proved this. The issue is, it is such a rarity that he attempts the shot. Chelsea ultimately lack a real goal scoring midfielder, as Kante will turn on a swivel and pass back to Rudiger if his vision of the goal is slightly blocked, so Kova being more of an attacking threat would create more opportunities for Chelsea to score. With goalscoring added to his arsenal, there really is no ceiling for the 26-year-old.

As Tuchel outlined after Newcastle, the whole squad often struggle with decision making. This is especially detectable with Kovacic. It’s clear to see just how imaginative Kova can be at times, the problem is that we just don’t see it enough. I feel Kovacic is weakest when paired alongside Jorginho. Now, this is in no way a negative opinion towards either player, it is just that together, they offer us little. The two can often get caught up in a possession loop of which looks attractive but limits our chance creation. It is no question just how versatile Kovacic can be, but can Tuchel pull those hidden qualities out of Kovacic and get him to the next level?

Thomas Tuchel has already proven that if something isn’t working, he will change it. Changes at half-time are relatively rare at Chelsea. Frank Lampard would often wait too late to make a change, which would limit the time the substitutes had to make an impact. With Tuchel’s ruthless attitude, I think the players will feel they have a lot more to fight for and must work harder than ever to secure their place in the side. If Tuchel can get the player who dominated against Newcastle every week, Chelsea have a serious player on their hands.

Written by @mashgreaves

Chelsea 2-0 Newcastle Match Report

After the result at the weekend, Chelsea’s game against Newcastle meant the Blues had a chance to jump into a top 4 position. With Liverpool losing to Leicester, a win over the Magpies would mean they’d be in 4th place – only 4 points behind 3rd and 2nd place Leicester, and Manchester United respectively.

Thomas Tuchel has enjoyed a fruitful start to his managerial career at Chelsea. With 5 wins and 1 draw in all competitions, as well as 5 clean sheets in the previous 6, Chelsea look completely revitalized. With important ramifications on the table, this game was crucial in gaining ground in the race for top 4. Once again Tuchel chose to stick with the 3 at the back formation, with a few changes that had fans questioning his methods.

Source: Google

Starting Line-up: Arrizabalaga; Rüdiger, Christensen, Azpilicueta (C), Hudson-Odoi (Out 78′), Jorginho, Kovačić, Alonso, Werner, Mount (Out 70′), Abraham (Out 20′)

Subs: Mendy, Palmieri, Kanté (In 70′), Ziyech, Pulisic, Zouma, Chilwell, James (In 78′), Giroud (In 20′)

Moving Callum Hudson-Odoi back to the right wing-back role where we originally saw him feature, Reece James was left on the bench. Finally, Kepa started in goal after his performance against Barnsley and Mendy was moved then to the bench. With Thiago Silva still out injured Christensen remained the starter, and Tuchel opted for Tammy Abraham to lead the line.

First Half

The first half started out quite well, the Blues looked sharp right from the beginning, and gave Newcastle trouble in defense. The Magpies did not sit as deep as was likely expected early on in the game. Instead they setup in a 5-3-3. out of possession in a mid-block leaving space behind for runners.

Early on in the half around the 2nd minute, a quality passage of play from the Blues saw Azpilicueta play the ball into Mount who laid off the ball to CHO on the right flank. CHO cut in and laid the ball off to Kovačić who switched the play to the left in space for Marcos Alonso to take a shot on target.


The shot was saved comfortably however it showed much of the space available to operate in which Chelsea could exploit, stretching the back line of Newcastle’s defense horizontally.

Soon after in the 6th minute of the game, Azpi had a chance from a corner won that was a strong attempt on goal. After a second consecutive corner was won from a header by Marcos Alonso, Mount played in the second corner in which Azpi made a run toward the near post.


The header was flicked onto the far post, where Dwight Gayle was standing and was able to clear the ball over the top of the goal. Had it not been for Dwight Gayle, it seemed likely Azpi’s effort could’ve resulted in a goal.

At about the 14th minute, Tammy Abraham was given a great chance to open the scoring for Chelsea. Kovačić received the ball from deep and skipped past a few of the Newcastle frontline defenders. He spotted an excellently timed run by Tammy Abraham as an option to play the ball over the top to.


Tammy took a great touch in stride to put the ball out in front of him. However while he was through on goal, Jamaal Lascelles recovered quite well and put in controversial tackle on Tammy inside the box. He slides from behind Tammy and just gets the ball although he may have went through Abraham and tackled him before getting the ball. Regardless, the decision of no penalty was the result.

However, Tammy did end up getting hurt after the challenge. Although he carried on until about the 20th minute, he never quite recovered and was limping the entire time while he remained on the pitch. As a result, Tuchel opted to bring on Olivier Giroud to replace him.

Around the 25h minute Chelsea saw another serious chance which could’ve ended Werner’s goal drought in the league. Mason Mount laid the ball off to Giroud who dropped deep and saw a switch of play to Alonso on the left side of the box.


Werner throughout this process intelligently positioned himself in the central gaps left open by the Newcastle defense, and got on the end of Alonso’s headed pass. Unfortunately, Werner was forced to lunge forward for the ball, and he was unable to drive it goalwards, putting his attempt just wide right.

However, it wasn’t long after when Chelsea opened the scoring. At about the 30th minute mark, Timo Werner played a pivotal role in opening the scoring. Christensen played the ball over the top and out wide to Werner who had dropped deep. Werner controlled the pass and drove with the ball down the line, slowing down and accelerating to beat his man on the left flank.


He fizzed in a ball into the danger zone directed at Mount, but the keeper got a hand to it and pushed the ball out. The ball however, dropped to Giroud who was well positioned for the second chance and had practically an open goal to bury the chance for Chelsea’s opener.

Shortly after, Timo Werner is presented with yet another opportunity to end his streak and extend the lead for the Blues. Kovačić once again with his excellent dribbling ability drove through two Newcastle defenders, played a beautiful 1-2 sequence with Giroud to beat another man, then delicately played the ball just above the ground and through to Werner. Werner took this chance first time, and made good contact on the effort, but unfortunately lifted the ball just too much to go over the crossbar.

However, Werner did finally end his drought in the game. After having won a corner around the 38th minute, Mason Mount delivered a ball over the top into the box. On its way, the ball missed Giroud, and bounced off a couple Newcastle defenders, and fell to the feet of Werner at the far post.


The ball was hit just over the line, and although the goal was scrappy, a nervy VAR check resulted in the confirmation of the goal and Timo was thrilled to finally get on the score sheet.

After this point in the game, a couple more chances which did not result in goals occurred. Around the 41st minute, Mount took an audacious attempt from the right half space on his weaker foot. He struck the ball very well with power, but the effort went wide and did not trouble the keeper.

Newcastle just before halftime began to become more aggressive in their press, slightly causing Chelsea to struggle, however just around the 46th minute after a Chelsea corner, Newcastle defended well and looked to break quickly. The transition was cut out by Alonso who quickly found Mount open in the left side of the box for a shot which he dragged wide right.

Overall, the half was quite dominant by Chelsea. They defended excellently and barely allowed Newcastle opportunities in the first half if any. In addition to being able to play through their press, they were able to create loads of chances, and potentially could’ve scored more had all their chances been taken.

Second Half

The second half however, was not as impressive. Newcastle adjusted their intensity at halftime and made it a point to apply pressure on Chelsea’s midfield pivot. This resulted in a more difficult process when trying to build out from the. back.

Early on their aggression paid off as they got an opportunity after winning the ball from a blocked pass off Azpilicueta. Saint-Maximin played the ball won into a central position to Isaac Hayden, who took a shot that deflect onto goal for a simple save by Kepa.

Soon after Newcastle won a free kick in a dangerous area. Jonjo Shelvey lined up to take the free kick and struck the ball with a lot of power.


However, Kepa’s form was good today and he was equal to the chance. He reached the shot quite easily and held onto the attempt to disallow any second chance opportunities.

The next 20 or so minutes no substantial opportunities were created. Chelsea tried attacking Newcastle’s box, however had trouble in really breaking down their opponent as they did in the first half. At about the 64th minute, Kovačić once again was involved in carry the ball from deeping while evade a few Newcastle players in the process.He. drove forward with the ball and laid off a great pass out wide in the path of CHO who fizzes a ball in, but is cleared for a corner.

Shortly after, Timo Werner dropped deep on the left side of the pitch and played the ball centrally to Jorginho. Jorginho played Mount on the right, who then drove forward with the ball into the opponent’s box and laid off the ball to CHO who was overlapping.


CHO played the ball across the face of goal and between many Newcastle defenders. Unfortunately, no Chelsea player is able to get on the end of the opportunity and the ball ran through.

This was Mount’s final involvement as he was replaced in the 70th minute by N’Golo Kanté who added a third man to the Chelsea midfield. Very soon after, a ball which was played over the top to Werner results with him inside the Newcastle box. However, Lascelles once again the culprit, put a slight shove on Werner who tried to control the ball and Werner fell over. After review once again, the decision was no penalty.

Finally, the last substantial chance of Newcastle resulted around the 74th minute, with Joe Willock. After a throw in for Newcastle, they attempted to attack Chelsea who were looking to defend deeper and see the game out. Newcastle had been constantly playing deep crosses from wide areas into the box hoping to score off these opportunities. Ryan Fraser who had come on later in the game whipped in a ball from deep into the box.


Willock made an excellent diagonal run into the box, elevated over multiple Chelsea defenders for an excellent headed attempt which was goal bound. Once again, Kepa was quick to react in the situation, and got a strong hand to the ball to push it wide.

After this point, in the 78th minute Reece James replaced Callum Hudson-Odoi and the game was seen out by Chelsea to hold onto the clean sheet and win their 4th game in a row in the league.

Brief Tactical Overview:

Chelsea with the ball were often looking to play through the press of Newcastle, utilizing Jorginho and Kovačić heavily in the first half. Additionally, the wide defenders would also often progress and play the ball into either one of the dual 10s or wing-backs if playing through the middle was not available for them to then create attacks at the opponents box. In the second half, once the press became more intense from Newcastle, Chelsea adjusted by having a man from the front drop deeper and add more numbers to the midfield as further passing options.

Without the ball, Chelsea’s front line pressed well trying to close down opponents very quickly. They were intense and with purpose, while heavily utilizing the dual 10s and mids to create wide overloads and pin the opponent in wide areas with no options. In the second half, the intensity of the press dropped off as time went on, as the team geared more towards game management and holding the clean sheet. As a result, they opted to hold their shape and defend a bit deeper for better anticipation of Newcastle’s crosses.

Positives and Negatives:

In the first half, Chelsea did well in playing through the press of the front 3 press using the midfielders to play between lines and progress the attacks. Kovačić was especially excellent in this regard, as his dribbling and beating players allowed the Blues us to take on the back line, and his passing decisions and execution were very sharp. Additionally, Chelsea were very strong in the buildup. Often they were able to play from the left to evade the press, then switch the play to the right using either Jorginho or Kovačić who linked up with Mount or CHO on right to drive the attack.

In the second half this became more of a struggle, however the adjustment of dropping players deeper as outlets allowed Chelsea to better cope with the additional pressure placed on the midfield pivot. Finally, Chelsea created a number of chances this game from corners as a result of well timed and angled runs in the box (Azpi), intelligently positioned players (Werner), and excellent services (Mount).

Chelsea did also have areas in which they would have improved on. At times, playing around the back too much especially after the press from Newcastle picked up. This resulted in playing the ball between the central defenders excessively at times and led to a few chances for Newcastle. Although the Blues scored two, they created plenty of chances and possibly deserved more. More chances could definitely have been taken and should improve to kill off games earlier and more convincingly (Timo a couple chances and Mount one before half).

More particularly in the second half, Jorginho losing the ball not being able to deal with aggressive press from Newcastle was definitely an area of concern to think about for future opposition which press more effectively. Finally particularly in the second half, final balls also could have been better after playing through the press and on transition chances.

Implications and Next:

Chelsea now sit in 4th, level on point with West Ham but ahead on goal difference. Although a few clubs in the below positions have a game or two in hand, Chelsea are very much in the driver’s seat for their top 4 destiny. With about 14 games to go, Chelsea’s next run of fixtures show to be difficult ones.

Playing Southampton in the league next on the weekend, this would be the first time Chelsea face an intense pressing side under Thomas Tuchel. Therefore, it will be an interesting showcase of how the team adapts and the selection/formation he opts for. After this, Chelsea have Atletico Madrid in the UCL, and Manchester United and Everton in the league, as their next three fixtures. After these next few games, Chelsea fans should get a better understanding of where Tuchel’s Chelsea stands and what to expect.

How will Timo Werner fit this season with Chelsea FC?

It has a been tumultuous summer transfer market for Chelsea who have been one of the most active teams to date. One player who had been mentioned regularly prior to joining the Blues was Timo Werner. The German came off a career year who had been consistently mentioned to join Liverpool. Chelsea, who hardly were mentioned caught many people by surprise.

When a player such as Werner is available to be signed, a club who has the necessary funds should do what is possible to obtain their signature and commitment. If they wait too long to make a decision, other teams will grasp at the opportunity to acquire some of the best talent available in the transfer market. 

Over the past couple weeks prior to joining Chelsea, it was widely rumoured that Liverpool was in pole position to sign Werner. The Reds were reluctant to pay his full release clause of nearly €53 million euros and had yet to offer a contract to the forward.  Inter Milan and Juventus were also interested, but Chelsea seem to be willing to pay the full release clause and offer a five-year deal worth 10 million per year in wages. 

The late move by Chelsea caught many people by surprise and has shown that they are committed to signing one of the best up-and-coming players. Before signing Werner, in the past 12 months, Chelsea had only signed Mateo Kovaĉić and Hakim Ziyech. The transfer ban may have been a blessing in disguise as the club acquired a player who will help in many different ways.  Chelsea’s willingness to put pen to paper for the forward has Werner convinced in the project they have setup and Lampard playing a major role in convincing the German in what they plan to do moving forward.

While Liverpool continued to stall in signing Werner, Chelsea was lurking in the dark and wasted no time, pouncing on the opportunity. With the forward now part of the club, Chelsea fans have much to be excited about. What can they expect from the Leipzig forward?

Frank Lampard will be getting a player who should nicely fit his style of play. The Chelsea manager prefers to play direct attacking football, but the Blues have really struggled to finish their chances this season. Chelsea averaged 16.6 shots per game while only scoring 1.7 goals per game. Tammy Abraham has contributed 15 goals, but is the only player on the squad to find the back of the goal more than ten times in the English Premier League.  Willian who no longer is with the squad was second with six goals. The inability to find consistent scoring from other players has been a major issue for Lampard.  

Werner has flourished under manager Julian Nagelsmann, who’s been able to develop the forward’s game this season. Currently playing in a 4-4-2 formation, Werner showed to be very consistent, which is a rare quality to find in young players. The forward has scored many goals this season with his great movement and ability to strike the ball with great power and accuracy. The striker scored 28 goals in the Bundesliga, who was second in the league behind Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski. 

In the previous two Bundesliga campaigns, where he played as a wide forward, he averaged 3.6 shots per 90 minutes. In recent seasons he’s managed to get to the net and create opportunities for him and his teammates. This year, playing as a false nine, he’s averaged 3.6 shots per game and has improved his goal-scoring rate, averaging 0.71 goals per 90 minutes.  

Last season, Bayern Munich decided not to make a move for the forward, which has worked out well for the young forward.  Playing another season under Nagelsmann has helped Werner become a more complete player.

“Nagelsmann has said that I won’t be playing as an out-and-out striker for him as much, but more of a false 9,” Werner said.

“It has encouraged me to improve and develop myself, even when we come up against oppositions that sit deep. He’s helped me to make better use of space.”

Werner’s flexibility will provide Lampard positional versatility.  He will allow the Chelsea manager the option to play different formations, including the 4-3-3.  While Lampard has used various formations this season, the 4-3-3 is his preferred option. Werner will be a viable replacement for Pedro and Willian who are no longer with the club, and the forward has shown he can play on either wing, as a striker and as a false nine. 

Lampard’s current options include Abraham as the striker, Christian Pulisic and Callum Hudson Odoi on either wing and Ziyech who could play as a right winger, a ten, or an eight. New addition, Kai Havertz could be used on the right wing or as an attacking midfielder, yet both players are capable of playing together up front. They have the ability to score and the experience of playing together for the German International squad.

Lampard has an abundance of players that offer positional versatility, which gives the manager many options to choose from. With so many competitions to be played, it never hurts to have more bodies in the line up as injuries do occur throughout the season. 

The scoring should vastly improve the most for Chelsea. Werner’s great movement will create more space for Abraham to work with and should result in more scoring opportunities.  Abraham’s physical strength up front and ability to play behind the defense should allow him room to separate him from the defense and have more chances to score. 

While Werner is not the most physical player, he has shown he can score at a prolific rate. He has scored 78 goals in 127 Bundesliga appearances with Leipzig over the past four campaigns. Goal scoring will no longer be an area of concern for Lampard as with a player of this caliber at his disposal. A new chapter is about to begin in Werner’s life and one which he will most certainly embrace. 

Interviewing Alex Goldberg – Lampard, The Academy & Hudson-Odoi!

Jerry Mancini spoke to Alex Goldberg, the host of The Byline podcast and co-host on Calcioland, at the end of April during lockdown.

Last summer, we saw Maurizio Sarri and Chelsea FC mutually agree to part ways and terminate Sarri’s contract. The Italian decided to sign with Juventus. In his one season with the club he was quite successful winning the Europa League and finishing fourth in the league. What were your thoughts on Sarri’s one season with Chelsea?

“It was an up and down season for Maurizio Sarri. He was somebody that was appointed to actually change Chelsea and have more of a long-term vision, taking a more defensive style club for all the years they had Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte and to try and make it his own.

“When they started facing some adversity, I think you saw one of the big flaws in Maurizio Sarri that he doesn’t have a Plan B – but he doesn’t choose to have a Plan B, [he] purposely chooses to have a really good Plan A. I think he had a little bit of a rude awakening and you can’t have no adaptability in the Premier League.

“I think he certainly was hit with some cold hard truths there in the middle of the season. Like he should have known, when you don’t do well at Cheslea [FC], you’re going to come under a lot of fire from within the club [and] from the media, but it’s a place that’s very unforgiving towards their managers. So, he realized that quickly, but one huge personality trait that he has and Antonio Conte has is they’re stubborn. They believe in their vision, that’s a good thing and a bad thing.

“Sarri kept the ship upright, got third place [in Premier League] and got the Europa League trophy. [It was] his first ever trophy and he really [left] on terms that most Chelsea managers don’t get to leave on, on good terms. It really doesn’t happen. You either get sacked or you walk away, but under a really toxic term or manner. It was more the perfect storm of why he left.”

Chelsea decided to replace Sarri with club legend Frank Lampard. The 41-year agreed to a three-year deal which will see him with the club until June 2022. Upon arriving, the club had been sanctioned a transfer ban and were unable to purchase players in the summer transfer window. What were your thoughts of Lampard being appointed the new manager of Chelsea? Did you think he was the right person to manage this squad given the circumstances the club was in?

“Chelsea have had a phenomenal academy for a long time. If there’s anything they’ve struggled with, it’s to have stability and have more of a clear direction [and] foundation. They really have won trophies based on being a big club and always having players that have championship pedigree.

“They [have] been such an interesting team with a lot of turmoil and toxicity from year to year and also a team that was always producing this great young talent but choosing to never use them for anything but a business model and just to profit off of those – send them on loan and their careers will probably get stagnated, but we’ll still be able to sell them. We’ll just keep doing this with all the talent we produce and we’re going to make a lot of money off of it.

“It’s about time we see if they could make it at our club [Chelsea] and if we have a transfer ban and we have a manager that also might be leaving us (Maurizio Sarri), well I think it’s time to hire a manager who knows the club, knows how important using these players can be and is willing to use these players.

“By the way, his assistant manager, Jody Morris, managed all these players at the academy level. It was the exact reasoning [why] Chelsea would need to use the youth and finally hire someone like Frank Lampard, who’s resume, managerial-wise was almost incomplete. One year at Derby [County] and you could debate if it was good, okay, or not good but he was the manager to use youth, to know the youth and to know what the club needs.

“The only last reason why I think the club went with it and why I was also really okay with it is how damn good Liverpool and Manchester City are. It also helped because if they felt that the league is wide open, I don’t think they would have done it. I don’t think they would have hired Frank Lampard, they would have hired a more experienced manager.”

If you could pick one, which player do you feel has made the most impact this season from the Chelsea Academy?

“Tammy Abraham or Mason Mount. Tammy Abraham has the stats on his side. [He has] thirteen goals, three assists and really proved that there is no number nine curse and that he could be the starting striker for Chelsea now and, more importantly, in the future – really until the last month or so of the season, where he was injured and just looked kind of overran and fatigued.

“On the flip, Mason Mount [had] six goals, four assists, and played more of an honest midfielder even though he wasn’t going to be the player of the season for Chelsea (I think that was Mateo Kovačić), Mason Mount was asked to do the most this season. [He] Played in the most Premier League games for Chelsea and played in, by far, the most positions. He played as an eight, ten, a left winger, right inside forward, left inside forward and sometimes a shadow striker.

“[He was] the defensive leader out there, not in terms of a centre-back or goalkeeper, but in terms of pressing which is a huge identity to Lampard. He was always the one leading everyone to closing down angles, how to press in a certain way, in a certain style and waving on players like N’Golo Kanté, Kovačić, Willian and Pedro. Those are all players who are known to have really good work rates.

“That’s vastly impressive and really beyond what a 20 and 21-year-old should be asked to do in the Premier League. Obviously, the background that Mason Mount had with Frank Lampard the season before at Derby helped. He really was asked to kind of be more of a senior player while having his first season in the Premier League. At the end of the day, I will say Tammy because goals win you games and he had thirteen goals, no penalties, scored in a variety of ways and scored some big ones.”

Callum Hudson-Odoi last season had a very good year with Chelsea. His season ended with an Achilles injury. This is a serious injury that could really change a player’s career. Now, this year he has returned to the club but hasn’t been nearly the same as he was last year and that’s due to the fact, he’s missed a lot of playing time. The forward has put in mixed performances as he’s shown to play at a high level as well at a level that shows his form is not there yet. Do you feel Callum has been treated unfairly this season and do you expect him to regain the form that he showed last season?

“Yes, I totally expect him to get back to what we thought he would be currently doing. I think people don’t know enough about the Achilles injury. It is such a tough injury, even when you’re back. Look at any sport, players don’t usually feel like themselves and have that out of their head mentally for a year after. the stats are there to prove it.

“I was definitely gutting for him and think yeah, at moments he came back and was actually phenomenal.

“He was also kind of thrown in the fire. He wasn’t thrown back into a team that had a bunch of senior players, like Eden Hazard, Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas and you could kind of ease back in. Once he was fit and ready to go, he was somebody that Frank Lampard needed to play quite a lot.

“He did turn things around to a certain extent in terms of performances right before he pulled up with a hamstring injury.

“He’s just insanely talented, he is 19 [years old] and he is a confident kid. So yeah, you might snowball in your head a little bit with the flack you’re getting for not being [Kylian] Mbappé right away, but he is somebody that [was] thrown back out there and especially with this team whose got such a great spirit. He’s somebody that’s going to exude confidence and really will hit the ground running.

“I have no doubt about it. He’s so young still and now he has plenty of adversity. The sooner you experience adversity, the really more well prepared you’ll be for a bad game in the future and more likely it doesn’t not turn into a long slump.

“I think he’s in the right situation, on the right team to feel confident, feel backed and be able to go express himself. Still, he’s going to be a key player for Lampard. It’s a young squad, Willian and Pedro are most certainly leaving [and they have left now] and so really its there for the taking for him.”

A big thank you to Alex Goldberg for the interview. Make sure to check his podcast out ‘The Byline’ and his social media platforms. Feel free to check out The Chelsea Spot too for more interviews, including one with ex Chelsea legend Pat Nevin!

Interview by Jerry.